Gender and Violence in India and Europe

Conference of the Cluster of Excellence in New Delhi compares violence in different cultures

Dr. Iris Fleßenkämper
© Julia Holtkötter

An international workshop organised by the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” in New Delhi will address gender-specific violence in India and Central Europe. On the basis of case examples, participants from Germany and India will establish the developments, consistencies, similarities and differences of gender-related violence in historical and current constellations. The conference is entitled “Gender and Violence in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives” (“Geschlecht und Gewalt in historischer und zeitgenössischer Perspektive”). It will take place from 22 to 24 September at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and is organised by historian Dr. Iris Fleßenkämper of the Cluster of Excellence and Indian historian and social scientist Dr. Jyoti Atwal, who worked at the Münster research association as a visiting scientist in 2013. The conference is mostly financed by funds of the German Research Foundation (DFG) which are provided for setting up international research cooperations.

In the medium term, the cooperation of Indian and German gender experts is designed to evolve into an international network addressing gender-specific relationships of inequality and violence from a comparative perspective across cultures. “Although the regional and cultural focus of the conference is on India, some contributions also address the relationship of gender and violence in the Central European region”, explains Dr. Fleßenkämper. “This forms a comparative backdrop for the question as to the constellations in which gender-related relationships of violence are to be interpreted as culturally and regionally specific phenomena or can be traced back to superordinate narratives and structures, which become manifest in other cultural correlations as well.”

Private and political violence

The workshop investigates various dimensions of gender-related violence as well as their offenders, victims, space, practices and functions. The following aspects will take centre stage: the sexual violence serving to establish group identities; the influence of acts of physical violence on the stabilisation or destabilisation of traditional gender relationships, particularly in the private space of matrimony and family; and the significance of forms of discursive violence in the implementation of “European” gender norms and Christian family models in India, for example within the scope of missionary work during the colonial era. Moreover, almost all of the conference’s contributions investigate forms and mechanisms of political or governmental violence in the legitimation or delegitimation of traditional gender roles. One focus will be on the practices of discrimination against sexual minorities such as homosexuals and transgender.

The speech of Dr. Iris Fleßenkämper will deal with female violence in early modern marriages in the county of Lippe. At the Cluster of Excellence, Dr. Fleßenkämper is head of project A2-5, “Marital conflicts between crime and sin: on the relationship between secular and clerical penal power in the county of Lippe during the confessional age”. Historian Dr. Felicity Jensz, of the research association, will talk about the topic of gender, violence and missionary representation. In Münster, Dr. Jensz is head of project B2-11, “Educating the ‘Natives’: Schools, missions, and governments in the British colonial world”. Dr. Jyoti Atwal of Jawaharlal Nehru University will give a lecture on “Politics of Writing History of Gender and Violence”. (exc/vvm/han)

Gender and Violence in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives: Indo-German International Conference

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
22-24 September 2015


Tuesday, 22.09.2015

Inaugural Session: Welcome and Introduction
Welcome Aditya Mukherjee, Dean, School of Social Sciences (SSS) and Vijaya Ramaswamy, Chairperson, Centre for Historical Studies (CHS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
Opening Remarks Sudha Pai, Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Introduction Jyoti Atwal, New Delhi, and Iris Fleßenkämper, Münster
Session 1: Violence against Minoritised Women in India
Chair: Bhagwan Josh, New Delhi
11:00–11:40 Violence against Women with Disabilities : Ethnographic Reflections Nilika Mehrotra, New Delhi
11:40–12:20 Nature of Violence against Dalit women Vivek Kumar, New Delhi
12:20–13:00 Adivasi Women, Everyday Violence and the Pentecostal Church in Rajasthan Sarbeswar Sahoo, New Delhi
Session 2: Implementing the Other: Gender, Violence, and Missionary Interactions
Chair: Shashi Joshi, New Delhi
14:20–15:00 Gendered Behaviour: Religious Norms and Social Deviance in the Basel India Mission in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century Judith Becker, Mainz
15:00–15:40 Gender, Violence, and Missionary Representations Felicity Jensz, Münster
Session 3: Violence against Sexual Minorities
Chair: Tim Allender, Sydney
16:00–16:40 Deviant Male Sexuality and Violence in Colonial India, 1862-1922 Manju Ludwig, Heidelberg
16:40–17:20 Hijras, India’s Third Gender, and 2500 Years of Discrimination and Exclusion Renate Syed, München

Wednesday, 23.09.2015

Session 4: Violence against Women in the Global and South Asian Perspectives
Chair: Aditya Mukherjee, New Delhi
09:30–10:10 Gender-Based Violence of Economic Globalisation in Contemporary India: An Intersectional Approach to Gender and Violence Christa Wichterich, Kassel
10:10–10:50 Muslim Personal Law and the Islamic Feminist Challenge in South Asia Deepra Dandekar, Heidelberg
10:50–11:30 Violence against Women in Today’s Afghanistan Nasrine Gross, Founder Roqia Center for Women’s Rights, Kabul and Kabultec, USA
Session 5 : Domestic Violence and the Diaspora
Chair: Mridula Mukherjee, New Delhi
11:50–12:30 Marriage and Violence among the Punjabi Immigrants in Canada Bhagwan Josh, New Delhi
12:30–13:10 The Bigger Picture: Situating Measures to address Violence against Minoritised Women in the UK within Broader Policy Agendas Moira Dustin, Equality and Diversity Research Network, Brighton, UK
Session 6: Domestic Violence in Comparison
Chair: Jyoti Atwal, New Delhi
14:10–14:50 Female Violence within Marriages in the German Principality of Lippe in the Early Modern Period Iris Fleßenkämper, Münster
14:50–16:30 Women Home Makers: Causes and Consequences of Domestic Violence among Married Women in India Anuradha Banerjee, New Delhi

Thursday, 24.09.2015

Session 7: Narrativizing Gender and Violence
Chair: Vijaya Ramaswamy, New Delhi
09:30–10:10 Of Devotional Zeal and Patriarchal Norms: Gender and Violence in the Periya Puranam R. Mahalakshmi, New Delhi
10:10–10:50 Gender, Violence, and Resistance in Partition Narratives Bodh Prakash, New Delhi
Session 8: Gender Violence in Cultural Representations
Chair: Susmita Dasgupta, Independent scholar
11:10–11:50 Violence against Women as a Subject of Indian Film Studies Adelheid Herrmann-Pfandt, Marburg
11:50–12:30 Has Violence against Women re-emerged in a new “sexier” guise in the West? Mary Louise Edwards, University College Cork, Ireland
Session 9: Gender History and the Issue of Violence: Methodological Approaches
Chair: Sucheta Mahajan, New Delhi
13:20–14:00 India’s Riot Against its Women – Looking Deep into the Nirbhaya Murder Case through Habermas and Levi Strauss Susmita Dasgupta, Independent Scholar
14:00–14:30 Politics of Writing History of Gender and Violence Jyoti Atwal, New Delhi
Closing Session
Chairs: Jyoti Atwal, New Delhi, and Iris Fleßenkämper, Münster
14:30-15:00 Group Discussion and Vote of Thanks